onefixedstar: (cherry blossoms)
I'm back safe and sound from San Francisco, having seen almost nothing of the city itself. We got in one good day of touristing before getting sick, and ended up spending the rest of the trip (once we were able to leave the hotel bathroom) in the suburb's visiting B's brother. Not a bad way to spend the time, I suppose, but I'm sorry I didn't get to see more of the city itself. I did get to watch a tremendous amount of Ultimate Fighting Championship, so I suppose I can add that to my cultural repetoire now. I'm actually rather curious who comprises the main audience for UFC--in what context is knowledge of UFC valuable cultural capital? Mind you, I'm not curious enough to do any actual research on it, but maybe one of my culture students will write a paper about it. (Last year, two people wrote about wrestling, so it's certainly possible.)

In other news, I passed my theory comp. Yay me! Frankly, I'm a bit surprised, as I thought my answer to the last question (of three) was terrible. But I'll take it. Even if it wasn't unanimous, I'll take it.
onefixedstar: (academic)
I'm done, I'm done, I'm done.

Actually, I was done Friday at 4:00. Yes, I handed it in early. I could have edited instead, but I decided that what I could accomplish in an hour wasn't worth the mental stress. And then I stepped away from the computer, and hung out with my roommate for the night--she introduced me to one of her favourite French bistros--and yesterday I went shopping with B. (It seems that if you want to get out, in the rain, shopping is one of the few things you can do.) Today I'm off to see my parents and sibs. (The local ones, anyway.) And then tomorrow, I'll consider getting back to work. Maybe.

A month or so from now, I find out if I passed.
onefixedstar: (academic)
Actually, it began about twelve hours ago, when I picked up my comp questions. They aren't too bad--a lot of "relate this book to the wider field" type questions. As long as I can stay focused for the next four days, I should be fine. I hope.


Aug. 25th, 2006 05:20 pm
onefixedstar: (sandmanweber)
My comp starts Monday at 9:00am (or whenever I pick up the exam). I don't expect I'll be around much until it's over on Friday.
onefixedstar: (academic)
Wow, my blog is dull these days. I read, I read, and I read some more. The lively life of a graduate student! And then sometimes I curse my broken graphics card (I'm definitely taking it in for repairs this week), and I read a bit of the news or check if my flist has been updated, and then I go back to reading theory. I suppose I could post book reviews...anyone want a review of Blumer's Symbolic Interactionism?

I do occasionally take breaks, mind you. Last night, for example, we watched The Return of the King, and B laughed his way the through the ending, decreeing that it was too long to be touching. Tonight I think the big adventure is going to be my first attempt at making pesto. We have a thriving basil plant that's just crying out to be used, so it seemed the logical choice. But for now, it's back to reading.
onefixedstar: (academic)
It looks like I'll be teaching tutorials again this summer. That's fine; it pays the bills and it means my TA hours will be spread out instead of all concentrated at the end. Marking would have had the advantage of not tying me here all summer...but at this point it doesn't look like I'm going anywhere anyway. The only big trip I was considering was Italy, and B has decided not to attend that conference after all, so that's already out. I would like to drive to Ottawa with B and his family next month, but I can live with it if the timing doesn't work out. So now my only concern is not letting tutorial preparation take over my life, as it's done in the past. (In the past I've found that the students tend to show up ill-prepared and without their books, which has lead me to over-prepare so that I'm not left with nothing to say when the students can't contribute. But there's also a strong element of procrastination involved there too, and that's what I need to avoid this time.)

On a completely unrelated note, my ceiling seems to be leaking again. I've called the landlords; I'll see what they do.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Essay marking proceeds apace, with a few good papers, and a lot of papers demonstrating that students don't know how to properly cite material. The maximum length for the papers was 20 pages, double spaced, and I think that's probably too much for an undergraduate course. My guess is that only one-third of the students actually hit 20 pages, and many of those are stuffed with extraneous material. However, since I'm but the lowly TA, I don't get to determine the assignment parameters, and so it doesn't really matter what I think.

Much more exciting for me is the chicken we bought yesterday to roast today. I've been reading through roasting recipes in between essay marking, and now I want at least three or four chickens to roast so that I can experiment with different methods. First, there's the question of whether brining really makes the difference in moistness that some people claim. (Since I haven't started it yet, I won't be doing that this time.) Then there's the heat question--how high do I go? Start really high for really crispy skin, and then lower it down to 350 or so to cook the meat? Cover the breast at the beginning so that the meat stays moist, and then brown the skin at the end? Cook the chicken entirely on low heat for a very long time, as this recipe suggests? (Look at those reviews; there must be something to it!) And of course, there are seasonings to consider. Rosemary, garlic, onion, and lemon is popular. (Possibly with a bit of thyme or sage.) But then there's the spice mix in that other recipe. And probably many more possibilities if I were to look around. Oh, the choices!

Roast chicken! Chicken soup! Chicken fajitas! Chicken enchiladas! Chicken salad sandwiches! Yum, yum, yum.
onefixedstar: (sandmanweber)
During my last massive effort to gather my comp material, I made a lovely, colour- and symbol-coded list indicating which books and articles I had, which ones were available to take out of the library, which were short enough to be photocopied at the library, which I would have to order in through inter-library loan, and which I'd have to hunt down through second hand stores. It's a great list--I have every item covered. The only thing I didn't include was a legend, because I figured I'd remember.


I fervently hope truly believe that if I sit down and stare at the list long enough, eventually it will come back to me. When it does, I am going to write down what every one of those colours and symbols means.


Jan. 22nd, 2006 12:21 am
onefixedstar: (sandmanweber)
I spent several hours last night downloading material for my theory comp. Today I discovered that, yeah, JSTOR's pdfs? Not so much working. Oh, files download okay, but each file is 7 or 8 kb big, and contains absolutely no information. So I spent several more hours today redownloading all of the articles and book reviews that I thought I had downloaded from JSTOR last night. In tiff format, since the pdf files aren't there. That'll be fun reading...

In other news, I've watched Serenity approximately three times in the past two days. I still need to go through the Joss-commented version, though, to find out why he did what he did.
onefixedstar: (Default)
I've spent the past two developing codes for analyzing warblogs using critical discourse analysis. I'm now ready to smash all blogs, but I need to have eight hours of work in before Friday morning, which means that I need to keep going. Only ninety minutes of this left to go. And then I can go back to work on developing my comp reading list. Or do some investigation into possible data sets for my dissertation. Or possibly read up on culture for my TA position, wince December exams are fast approaching.

In other news, we have thunderstorms today, and not a hint of snow.

Tech woes

Oct. 14th, 2005 12:45 am
onefixedstar: (Default)
Somewhere, somehow, I installed some sort of ad blocking software that is now rendering all sorts of website sidebars as ads, regardless of whether they're selling something or simply providing navigation to other parts of the site. It's making it very difficult to move through certain key sites, such as, oh, my department's website. I think that at some point soon, I'm going to have to track down the responsible piece of software.

In other related problematic tech news, my laptop has stopped giving me access to my USB key drive. It recognizes that a USB device is attached, but the device doesn't show up in Windows Explorer. This is a bit of a concern since I actually need some of the information stored on that device. Fortunately, my desktop is still giving me access, so I was able to transfer the important information over. Nonetheless, I'd like to fix this as it's rather convenient having a USB drive.

Finally, I actually read the SSHRC application instructions this year. I can't believe how many little errors I made in past years! No wonder they never forward my application...
onefixedstar: (Default)
I usually claim that autumn is my favourite season and the best time to be in Toronto. When I make those claims, I tend to forget how many wet, grey, gloomy, autumn days we get, even in October. (In November it's expected--all of November is wet, grey, and gloomy.) Ah well, at least it keeps me inside and working. And gives me an excuse to drink maple lattes from Starbucks and cook fall food. Like French onion soup, which I made last night.

So yes, back in Toronto, back from the conference, still writing up my conference report, and otherwise very busy. Right now I'm trying to find a dissertation topic that both my supervisor and I are interested in. I want to do internet + politics, and he wants me to do internet + popular culture; hopefully we'll be able to meet in the middle somewhere.
onefixedstar: (academic)
Once again I'm up past dawn, but I can now proudly announce that I'm finished one big project and a considerable number of small ones, all of which were due by the end of this week. This leaves me free to concentrate on the rewrite of my thesis into a much shorter book chapter, which I need to have done by Monday. Of course, this freedom will only last until NetworkGuy gets around to editing the two things I just sent him, and starts asking for clarification/requesting additional data/suggesting changes I should make. I'm giving myself until 9:00pm before I start receiving the emails.

Once Monday is over and the book chapter is either done or failed, I plan to return to the Long Lost Comp that was supposed to be my big project of the summer. Oh, and planning the vacation I'm taking at the end of August, but which I'm going to feel very guilty about.

The weather has cooled down considerably here, and it looks like our power has returned. For the past few days, the lights have been dimming and the fans slowing every ten minutes or so, which made me think the power supply in our house was rather precarious. Tonight, however, the my bedside light has shone without a flicker. Now if only they can either fix our a/c, or stop trying to run it...
onefixedstar: (academic)
It's a very difference experience spending the entire night working in my office (or the basement beneath my office) than spending the entire night working at home. As I was walking home this morning, I found my mind sliding back to the tutorial I'd run the night before, but it didn't feel like it had ended a full thirteen hours before. It felt close, as if I were still in the same evening, as if the time I spent working had been compressed so that my memory could skip over it and keep its connection with the previous night. I've never had that happen when I stayed up all night at home--there, I'm much more aware that a night has passed, although first light always catches me by surprise.

It's also strange to be walking home as everyone else is arriving for the day, even if it is just to shower and change rather than sleep.

The good news is that the report was well received, although I've been assigned yet more edits and more digging up numbers to back it up. I can probably get it done in a day, but it won't be today--I'm too tired now. Instead, I'm working on editing transcripts, which requires concentration but not much brainpower. I really just want to go home and sleep, but I'm determined to continue to be productive today.
onefixedstar: (Default)
I went out for dinner last night with MasseyPrincess and another friend. We ordered a pitcher of sangria, and it was so tasty MasseyPrincess suggested that we spend the rest of the summer engaged in the Hunt for the Perfect Sangria. Two bars, four hours and two small glasses of sangria later, I was flushed, nauseous, and experiencing what felt like tachycardia. (On a side note, it's amazing how effective a racing heart is at inducing a feeling of panic, even when you know what's causing it.) These are all apparently common symptoms of ALDH2 deficiency--an underproduction of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase that leads to a build up of acetaldehyde in the body with all the wonderful effects that toxic chemical creates, and a widespread trait among many East Asian populations. (Apparently I did inherit something from my Japanese grandfather.)

Happily, the effects had worn off by this morning, but I think I'm going to withdraw from the rest of the Summer Hunt. On the bright side, if I do in fact have ALDH deficiency, there's almost no chance that I'll ever become an alcoholic (although my risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease is somewhat elevated).

Today I'm listening to the radio version of Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, courtesy of Mercury Theatre Online, and working on editing my the Heritage report so that I can spend the weekend working on my blasted master's thesis, which some foolish kindly book editor has offered to include as a chapter in his new book if I can get into shape in a mere three weeks.
onefixedstar: (Default)
B and I are planning to go up to Ottawa on Friday. He's never been, and I thought Canada Day would be a good day to introduce him to the capital of his new country--the sheer number of people out in the streets (painted red and white and wrapped in Canadian flags) is pretty fantastic. (Plus, it will give me a chance to go visit my friends and their new baby.) Of course, in order to justify the trip, I first need to finish at least a rough draft of this unending report for Heritage Canada. So much for the comp I was supposed to write this summer...
onefixedstar: (academic)
While prepping for my Soc 101 tutorial, I noticed that the author of the first reading in the supplementary reader seems to have a rather strongly negative attitude towards qualitative research. "Okay," I thought, "this isn't the attitude I'd present to first year students, but I'm sure future articles will balance it out." I'm still waiting for that future article. The rest of the articles have all taken one of two positions: they ignore qualitative research, or they talk about it as a good preliminary technique that's useful for identifying the variables you're going to study once you get down to the serious, quantitative work. So far, there's not a single article that treats qualitative research as a legitimate enterprise unto itself. I'm disappointed, but not terribly surprised. The qualitative-quantitative divide remains a major one in sociology, driving otherwise reasonable people to do completely idiotic things like quit their job upon the passage of a proposal that enabled Ph.D. students to include a qualitative section on their methodology comprehensives. At this year's Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association, the discussant for the "Future of Anglo-Canadian Sociology" suggested that the meeting really ought to divide the panels by paradigm rather than substantive topic, on the grounds, one imagines, that people would be more likely to attend panels if they knew they wouldn't be subjected to a conflicting ontological position. My current school falls even more heavily on the quant side of the spectrum that my previous school (the one from which those foolish faculty departed so as not to have to bear graduating doctoral students with a knowledge of both qual and quant), and so I suppose it's only to be expected that the textbooks we use would parrot that message.

Up with numbers, down with Verstehen!


onefixedstar: (Default)

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